SINGAPORE: Smartphone subscriptions in Southeast Asia and Oceania are predicted to grow fivefold over the next five years and will account for over half of the region's 1.3bn mobile subscriptions new research has said.

Communications technology business Ericcson released an appendix to its recent Mobility Report to illustrate the differences across the region with respect to smartphone uptake, access to LTE, and network performance. It reported that mobile data traffic would grow twice as fast as smartphone subscriptions – tenfold – between 2013 and 2019.

The primary reason for this was the region's youth population of more than 170m. "Youth are active users of apps, especially messaging apps, and in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia nearly one-third of the population is aged 10-24," noted Arun Bansal, Head of Ericsson's Region South East Asia and Oceania.

"In these countries we also observe that the smartphone is the primary device for internet access and as smartphones become cheaper, more consumers will be able to enjoy the benefits of connectivity," he added.

Separate research from IDC suggests that it is not only the smartphone market that is growing rapidly: shipments of tablets to the Philippines were up 110% year on year in the first quarter of 2014, the highest in the region, Marketing Interactive reported.

While Samsung and Apple were the market leaders, IDC noted that home-grown vendors such as Cherry Mobile and Starmobile were gaining ground among budget-conscious Filipino consumers. This trend was being pushed, according to Jerome Dominguez, associate market analyst at IDC Philippines, "by cash-rich marketing and A-list celebrity endorsements".

But no matter which device consumers are using, Bansal observed that the anticipated growth in mobile traffic would require the creation of high performing networks "to keep up with more complex user demands".

Currently Australia and Singapore account for almost all of the 20m LTE subscriptions the region will have by the end of 2014, but developing markets are expected to take a greater share over the next five years as networks are deployed in more countries.

By 2019, LTE subscriptions in the region are projected to reach 230m , a penetration rate of around 20%.

Data sourced from Ericcson, Marketing Interactive; additional content by Warc staff